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I took the trouble to dress up that day. I tried to make myself look like a responsible writer, but not in a really calculated way. After some contemplation, I decided to skip shaving and stick to my three-day-old stubble; I wore black jeans, a light-blue shirt and over it a gray jacket from a Zara suit. It was an interview with a German paper, after all.

“What do you think?” I asked my...